Narrative Inquiry into the Lived Experiences of the Diverse Meanings of Disability

  • Author / Creator
    Yi, Kyoung June
  • “To experience an experience is to do research into an experience” (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000, p. 50). I intended to study my own lived experiences of understanding the diverse meanings of disability and ability as they were lived by exploring their temporality (i.e., the timeframes—past, present, or future—in which they occurred), their sociality (i.e., the ways in which they intersected with socio-cultural influences), and their place (i.e., the physical and topological locations where they took place). Furthermore, by attending critically to my own lived, told, retold, and relived stories of these experiences, I sought to understand how my own disability constructions were constituted, shaped, expressed, and enacted within and against grand narratives (e.g., cultural historical traditions and assumptions about disability and ability; common ways of thinking about them in certain societies; theories, paradigms, and ideologies related to adapted physical activity). Finally, by composing interesting, thought provoking, and evocative stories and reflections, I hoped to inspire the readers of my dissertation to reflect on and think critically about their own disability construction and practices. In order to achieve these objectives, I made use of narratives, the storied representations of my lived experiences. These formed the basis, and the subject, of my journey. Clandinin and Connelly (2000) provided the conceptual framework for this narrative inquiry: puzzling in a metaphorical three-dimensional narrative inquiry space. Like a person putting together pieces of a puzzle, I searched and re-searched for ways to connect fragments of my experience by composing field texts (i.e., annals and chronicles, autobiographical stories, family stories, field notes, and daily journals), and I brought these pieces together by interweaving each field text in relation to the others, while responding to questions such as: how my own disability construction was experienced in relation to particular times, places, and social contexts, and how studying these experiences would be socially meaningful and significant (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000). As a result, I presented analytic insights of my journey as a series of stories and subsequent reflections. In Chapter 1: My Narrative Beginnings, I presented a set of contextual stories about, and reflections on, my experiences of coming to my dissertation research. In Chapter 2: Narrative Inquiry as Methodology, I described my pragmatic perspective as a narrative inquirer and the framework of my narrative inquiry. I also presented a story of my own narrative turn in this chapter. In Chapter 3 Methods, I provided methods of this inquiry, including the processes of composing field texts, moving from field texts to a research text, and composing a research text. In Chapter 4: My Own Disability Construction, I presented the ways in which I came to understand the meanings of disability within and against grand narratives. I highlighted the complexity, temporality, and continuity of my disability construction in particular times and places, and in particular personal and social contexts. In Chapter 5: Reliving My Own Disability Construction, I presented the potential implications of my own assumptions about disability and ability for my past, present, and future adapted physical activity practice. I also illustrated the importance of being attentive to reflexivity, “counter” stories, and social responsibilities as ways of opening up ethically framed future possibilities for disability construction and adapted physical activity practice. Finally, I presented the personal, practical, and social meanings of this dissertation journey and my aspirations for my future living and reliving as a reflexive, relational, and transformative narrative inquirer in the field of adapted physical activity in Chapter 6: Ending Tentatively with New Beginnings. The potential contributions of this journey may be: increased awareness and acceptance of lived experiences as valuable sources and sites of understanding disability; recognition of the self as an integral aspect of disability knowledge generation; acknowledgment of the socially interactive and relational nature of disability knowledge generation; appreciation of the importance of reflexivity to understanding disability and its implications for adapted physical activity practice; enhanced visibility of diverse perspectives in the construction of disability and adapted physical activity practice; and recognition of narrative knowing as a way of understanding disability.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2014
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Causgrove Dunn, Janice (Physical Education and Recreation)
    • Lutfiyya, Zana (Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba)
    • Caine, Vera (Faculty of Nursing)
    • Clandinin, Jean (Faculty of Education)
    • McHugh, Tara-Leigh (Physical Education and Recreation)